Thursday, 17 July 2008



Urge Overkill from Chicago was always one of those bands that you had heard of but hadn’t actually heard.  With three albums out on Touch And Go they came through during the grunge era as part of that host of US indie rock alternative bands that had a vague connection to Sub Pop.  This was a band that dressed up, sang punk soul not grunge.  Surely that meant they weren’t much different to the Afghan Whigs.

By this stage the band was signed to Geffen and thus connected.  The Urge Overkill version of the Neil Diamond had previously been the lead track on a six song EP on Touch And Go called Stull.  Somebody somewhere was listening.

Apparently Quentin Tarantino originally happened across the EP in a record shop in Holland.  The selection goes slightly against the grain as most of his music choices/selections have tended to be retro and original in form.  The track does however have the kind of funk, soul and groove that taps into his tastes and thus he selected it for inclusion in his second movie Pulp Fiction.  The significance of the find also suggests this was the visit to Holland where/when he came up with his famous Royale With Cheese speech/exchange between Vincent and Jules in the movie.  That said with Uma Thurman spread on the cover of the single perhaps it might have been more appropriate for Tarantino to throw an alternative rock bone to J Mascis.

“Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” is a mucky song when you delve into it.  It’s the end of innocence attached to music.  Indeed read another away it could be construed as the corruption of innocence.  You can see why an act would wish to cover it as the sweeping gestures are stark and testing coupled with an overriding down tone that eventually builds into a huge declaration which enables the vocal range of the singer to soar.  If nothing else, its exercise.

Accompanying the main track is “Dropout”, a song lifted from their Saturation LP.  In contrast to the lead track (the cover version) this is an almost dance number offered by the act in almost an effort to reveal the real sound of the band.  It’s a track with bounce but only limited charm.  Rather than housing passion, it plods.  No dice.

The CD single closes with “Bustin’ Surfboards” by The Tornadoes, one of those surf instrumentals that appears in the movie and on the soundtrack.  In a collection where such songs weren’t necessarily distinguishable this is the one with the sound of waves crashing against the shore.  It’s a kind drive and it got them some scratch.

False pretence.

Thesaurus moment: propinquity.

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